After six grueling years and countless attempts to hinder and repeal Obamacare, Republican lawmakers are finally getting the chance to repeal it; however, repealing Obamacare is not exactly all it is cracked up to be. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) in 2010, Republicans have spent the last few election cycles campaigning to repeal Obamacare. After the botched rollout, GOP critics argued that not only does Obamacare give the government too much power as well as creates losses for insurance providers. For some the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to keeping a universal healthcare system.
Last week, the Senate voted 51-48 on a procedural motion on a budget resolution which Republicans hope will get the ball rolling to overhaul Obamacare. The budget resolution dubbed by GOP lawmakers as the Obamacare “repeal resolution.” For many Republicans, repealing the broken national health care system is of the utmost importance, but the problem lies in what to replace it with.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said that the goal is to repeal and replace Obamacare concurrently. Calling for a same day repeal and replace on Obamacare is asking a lot especially since there is no clear cut alternative to Obamacare.
Meanwhile, five Republican Senators – Bob Corker, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski – have teamed up to introduce an amendment that would delay the repeal of Obamacare by over a month. Currently the deadline to repeal is January 27th, but some Republicans are calling for the deadline to be moved to March 3rd in order to give the incoming administration time to get the replacing policy right.
By using the budget reconciliation process as a vessel to repeal Obamacare, Republicans are able to say “bye, Felicia” with a simple majority vote in the Senate. In the beginning, this seemed to be the perfect solution to putting Obamacare out to pasture, once and for all. However, taking a closer look, pushing through a repeal status without having another plan in place could harm more Americans than it would help, therefore, some GOP leaders are calling for a built-out plan to replace Obamacare before repealing it.
This common sense approach is the best approach not only for Americans but also for Republicans, if they want to maintain a majority in Congress past 2017. While the idea of repealing Obamacare is the stuff GOP dreams are made of and many Americans, who have lost their original health insurance plan or suffered through skyrocketing premiums, are dreaming, as well. Unfortunately, what will take its place is still TBD, which makes pulling the plug and leaving over 20 million of Americans with a gap in coverage difficult.
Much like herding cats, Republicans will need to keep all party members on the same page when it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare, since they will no doubt have resistance across the aisle as Democrats prepare to take it to the mattresses in order to keep Obamacare intact and salvage what they can of Obama’s legacy.